Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RAW Review: Mania Bound (3-14-2016)

As the announce team put it after WWE Roadblock, the road to WrestleMania 32 is finally clear.  It is always nice once you have nothing but WrestleMania ahead of you because that is when you always think business will really pick up.

Depending on your view of the two top angles (Triple H v Reigns, Undertaker v Shane) you may have really liked last night's show.  For me, last night's Raw was one that I think Facebook described perfectly.

That was about accurate. As an aside, that is one reason I quit doing the Raw Review for a while. Far too often the show is simply...there and there is not a lot to really say about it. The other problem is that you find yourself saying the same thing about the same people every single week. It is often difficult to come up with remotely interesting things to say about the product every week.  This is especially true when each episode feels like the one before it.

That is also why I quit doing a match by match review and now choose to only look at what I deem interesting. In that regard I thought there were a couple things of note this week.

  • Triple H v Dolph Ziggler and the Roman Reigns Return--Reigns big return was botched from the very start here.

    First, if you wanted to potentially get a better reaction for The Big Dog, you needed to do a few things differently.  He needed to show up before Ziggler lost the match or he needed to save Ziggler from a vicious post-match beatdown.

    In either scenario he needed to hit the ring at 100 MPH.  Having him stroll out on the ramp and stare down Triple H in front of a crowd that was going to boo him was the absolute wrong answer there.

    I will give credit to Triple H in one regard last night.  He actually played heel for Roman Reigns.  It is probably too little, too late, but he did heel on the crowd and did other little things such as giving Stephanie a kiss before the match started.

    The beatdown was pretty cool honestly.  Besides the entrance I did not love The Usos and Jack Swagger being able to calm Roman down like that.  He should have at least gone after Swagger, but that is a minor nitpick. 

    Like many others, I think the idea that this has been separated from the Shane v Vince story is troublesome.  If all this played into that story then I think you turn the crowd against Triple H more and possibly get the crowd behind Roman Reigns more as well. 

  • Undertaker faces off with Vince and Shane--I will say this once more, but my biggest issue with all of this goes like this.  I have little doubt that this match will end up being an interesting spectacle of a match.  I also know that I have exactly any desire to see any build for this. 

    The highlight of last night's exchange was Vince throwing himself down to escape The Undertaker.  It pained me to hear the same crowd who crapped all over Roman Reigns' and that pretty cool beatdown of Triple H go crazy for this nonsense.

  • Mick Foley passes the torch/barbed wire baseball bat to Dean Ambrose--This was a touch dopey/hokey/goofy and yet almost absolutely perfect.  I thought Foley did a good job here and them painting Dean Ambrose as the modern-day Mick Foley worked as well. 

    If they did this with two less charismatic guys I am not sure I would have praised it though.

    The Lesnar confrontation before all this was fairly forgettable, but Brock even considering to get in the ring with a guy who had a crowbar was fantastic. 

  • Neville injured/AJ gets his finisher named--The story here is Neville's unfortunate injury which is fairly serious.

    The other aspect was the heated exchange between Chris Jericho and referee Charles Robinson.  It seemed to me on first viewing that Jericho intended to win via rollup in order to get Neville out of the ring.  I thought Jericho was pretty hot that Robinson did not count the pin there.  At that point Neville got the DQ victory as Jericho shoved Robinson. 

    It's a shame to see Neville go down like this as close as we are to WrestleMania.  He would have been a nice addition to whatever multi-man match he was slated to join.  Hope he bounces back nicely from this.

    Oh, and AJ's flying forearm is apparently going to be the Phenomenal Forearm.  That's what Cole called it at least.

  • New Day turns?--It seems to me that we may have finally gotten the New Day turn.  If so, that is a wonderful thing.  Little has frustrated me more than watching New Day employ cheap heat tactics in order to get the arena to turn on them because they are heels. 

    It is so unnecessary and sucks the energy out of the place.  People like New Day, let them like New Day.  Don't buy into this misguided notion that anything needs to change if they become faces either.  All they need to do is not insult the city they are in and you're good to go.  Anything else is going to be counter-productive.  

This was not a bad Raw by any stretch.  This lady seemed to have an especially good time.  My dislike of how Reigns/Triple H has played out as well as how the crowd reacts to Reigns hurts my enjoyment of the show.  The fact that the main event was Shane, Vince, Taker also hurts as well. 

When the top angles aren't clicking it can really drag down a decent show.  That is kind of what happened last night.  I think WrestleMania will be fine, but I am honestly look forward to the Raw after just about as much.  Why?  I am hoping they shake things up a bit.  Will they?  No idea.

If you're interested in a full review of the show I always recommend Jason Powell's WWE Raw Live TV Review.